United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Marco D. Keitt, Plaintiff,
S.C. Dept. of York; S.C. Dept. of Social Services; State of S.C.; and County of York, Defendants.
ORDER AND NOTICE
V. Hodges United States Magistrate Judge
D. Keitt (“Plaintiff”), proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed this complaint against the South
Carolina Department of York, South Carolina Department of
Social Services, the State of South Carolina, and the County
of York challenging his state child support obligations.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)
and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(e) (D.S.C.), the undersigned
is authorized to review such complaints for relief and submit
findings and recommendations to the district judge.
filed his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which
permits an indigent litigant to commence an action in federal
court without prepaying the administrative costs of
proceeding with the lawsuit. To protect against possible
abuses of this privilege, the statute allows a district court
to dismiss a case upon a finding that the action fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted or is frivolous
or malicious. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i), (ii). A
finding of frivolity can be made where the complaint lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 31 (1992). A claim based on a
meritless legal theory may be dismissed sua sponte under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). See Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327 (1989). Pro se complaints
are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by
attorneys. Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th
federal court is charged with liberally construing a
complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development
of a potentially meritorious case. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In evaluating a pro se
complaint, the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be
true. Fine v. City of N.Y., 529 F.2d 70, 74 (2d Cir.
1975). The mandated liberal construction afforded to pro se
pleadings means that if the court can reasonably read the
pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could
prevail, it should do so. Nevertheless, the requirement of
liberal construction does not mean that the court can ignore
a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set
forth a claim currently cognizable in a federal district
court. Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d
387, 390-91 (4th Cir. 1990).
and Procedural Background
filed this complaint seeking to “disestablish”
paternity based on fraud and duress. [ECF No. 1-1 at 2].
Plaintiff states he is trying to establish a decent life, but
he is unable to do so due to threats, duress, and the money
taken from his taxes and workers compensation. [ECF No. 1 at
5]. Plaintiff claims he has paid at least $40, 000 in child
support, and he demands that this money be returned, and that
he be awarded additional monies for his pain and suffering.
complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Although the court must
liberally construe a pro se complaint, the United States
Supreme Court has made it clear that a plaintiff must do more
than make conclusory statements to state a claim. See
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677‒78 (2009);
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). Rather, the complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim that is plausible
on its face, and the reviewing court need only accept as true
the complaint's factual allegations, not its legal
conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678‒79.
cites to 18 U.S.C. § 242, the writ of habeas corpus, and
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b), and seeks to void his
child support orders, including a refund of the child support
he has already paid. [ECF No. 1]. Plaintiff, however, has
failed to allege sufficient factual allegations or cite to
appropriate statutory provisions establishing he is entitled
to the relief he requests. See Tribble v. Reedy, 888
F.2d 1387 (4th Cir. 989) (finding Section 242 is a criminal
statute that provides criminal penalties, but does not give
rise to civil liability); Johnson v. Thomas, No.
4:10-CV-151-BR, 2011 WL 1344008, at *5 (E.D. N.C. Apr. 8,
2011) (concluding 18 U.S.C. § 242 provides no private
cause of action); Preiser v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S.
475, 494 (1973) (noting the traditional purpose of habeas
corpus is to attack the fact or length of confinement and
finding “[i]n the case of a damages claim, habeas
corpus is not an appropriate or available federal
remedy”); State Police for Automatic Retirement
Ass'n v. Difava, 164 F.Supp.2d 141, 156 (D. Mass.
2001) (“[T]he Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not
create independently enforceable rights upon which [a
plaintiff] may sue.”); Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi
Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280, 284 (2005) (providing
that a federal district court does not have jurisdiction over
“cases brought by state-court losers complaining of
injuries caused by state-court judgments rendered before the
district court proceedings commenced and inviting district
court review and rejection of those judgments.”).
Accordingly, Plaintiff's complaint is subject to summary
may attempt to correct the deficits in his complaint by
filing an amended complaint within 14 days of this order,
along with any appropriate service documents. Plaintiff is
reminded that an amended complaint replaces the original
complaint and should be complete in itself. See Young v.
City of Mount Ranier,238 F.3d 567, 572 (4th Cir. 2001)
(“As a general rule, an amended pleading ordinarily
supersedes the original and renders it of no legal
effect.”) (citation and internal quotation marks
omitted); If Plaintiff files an amended complaint, the
undersigned will conduct screening of the amended complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. If Plaintiff fails to